Mike Atherton, former England captain and now a cricket writer with The Times, London, and Geoffrey Boycott were stopped from inspecting the pitch at the Eden Gardens on Monday morning.

Chief curator Prabir Mukherjee stood his ground and ordered the two to leave the area immediately. Mr. Mukherjee, who was not in sync with the chairman (Daljit Singh) of the Ground and Pitches Committee of the Board regarding the line of preparation of the Eden Gardens pitch for the India-England Test starting on Wednesday, is known to be very protective of the pitch, square and the ground.

Mr. Mukherjee, 83, decided to stay away from the Eden Gardens after the zonal curator Ashish Bhowmick was asked to work along with him. He even went to the media saying he would not step on to the ground in future. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya and other officials managed to persuade him to return and manage the playing surface.

Even in domestic matches in the past, Mr. Mukherjee had prohibited people, other than the teams and match officials, from straying anywhere near the pitch. A stickler for rules and ethics, Mr. Mukherjee once again showed he would not budge an inch even if it were England’s former captains.

Atherton captained England in 54 Tests from 1993 to 2001 before he took up journalism. Boycott, who represented England in 108 Test matches, is a media personality.

Mr. Mukherjee, who has been associated with the CAB for three decades now, could not be reached for comments.

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